Opinion: Red light, green light. Just obey the law, folks

By CAMAL PETRO,

Let me pull back the curtain of HubCitySPOKES for a second.

I was sitting in an editorial meeting earlier this month doing my usual thing when the news department starts talking about topics that are over my head. I’m checking emails, seeing what’s new on Twitter and replying to coaches’ text messages.

You know, just minding my own business as they hash out whatever they’re hashing out. Suddenly, I look up to our almighty publisher, David, staring at me with a smirk on his face.

Beth and David thought it would be a good idea if all of the writers contributed an opinion piece in a rotation.

Me, a sports guy, wasn’t too thrilled about the idea, but it’s impossible to convince David otherwise when he has an idea in his head. You see, I don’t have many thoughts that run through my head that don’t involve sports.

So, here I am. You’ll see my not-so-eloquently-written words on this page once a month, but with a twist. I plan on using this space to release some frustration.

I don’t know exactly what I’ll be burning on when I sit down to write this every month, but I knew exactly what I wanted to write for this first one.

Our loyal readers might remember a column I wrote two years ago about a cat coming to my door and the lengths we went to reunite the little guy with his owners.

It was my first non-sports column and it was my last one.

From now on, there won’t be any sweet kitty stories when C-unit takes the op-ed stage.

Put on your gloves and protective eyewear, folks, because I’m officially lighting the Bunsen burner.

Camal is burning on something.

Everywhere you go, people say his or her hometown has the worst drivers. Now, I’m not here to say Hattiesburg has the absolute worst drivers, but almost every single one of us does something that needs to stop.

I’ve lived on the Coast for most of my life, and other than rubbernecking tourists on Beach Boulevard, I don’t recall any bad driving tenacities.

In Jefferson City, Missouri, those drivers were too cautious, and in Oxford while in college, I think there were just too many of us on the road, which caused many delays.

Here in the ’Burg, we run too many dang red lights. It’s starting to get ridiculous, people.

Look, I get it. Highway 98, which is the source of a lot of my frustration, can be an annoying piece of pavement to drive on. There are two intersections that come to mind immediately – the one at Cross Creek Parkway and Highway 98 West and the one at Westover Drive and Hardy Street.

I could name a lot more examples, but for the sake of space constraints, I’ll keep it brief.

Every single day while doing my morning commute eastbound on 98, I’m forced to stop at the Walmart entrance red light. I’m O.K. with it because it just means I get to enjoy the podcast I’m listening to for a few more minutes.

Now whether I’m first at the line or a couple of cars back, there are always multiple cars that are taking the left turn into the Walmart parking lot well after the light has turned red. I mean, seriously, sometimes my light is green for 10 or more seconds before I get to go.

What makes matters worse is the last few cars to run that red light end up blocking 98 for the rest of us because the Walmart parking lot entrance is backed up.

Switching to my other example, I think that Westover intersection is so big when cars go after the light turned yellow, it’ll turn green for the next set of cars before that car could complete its maneuver. In that instance I kind of understand why there’s a delay, but when a car still runs that red and it takes it a while to clear the intersection, that’s when my blood gets boiling.

If I’m first in line at a red light, and a car blatantly crosses my intersection after my light has turned green for more than a few seconds, you better believe you’re getting a horn from me. Then what blows my mind is that car looks at me like he or she did nothing wrong.

I even caught our almighty publisher running what he referred to as an “orange” light on Hardy Street the other day. He had a lame excuse about why he did it, but regardless, it was against the law.

I understand we all hammer the gas and run yellow lights; that’s not the issue. It’s when cars are still going through the intersection after the light has turned red that needs to stop.

When you do that, it makes the long line of another set of cars wait longer to go, then those cars in the back want to run their red light, causing a chain of red-light runners.

If I could help one person at a time understand how much of a trash move this is, maybe we can get the ball rolling to correct the mistake. 

 

Not only is Camal a novice traffic cop with road rage tendencies, he’s also the sports editor of The Hattiesburg Post. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at: @PineBeltSPORTS

 

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